Things I Hate About Art with Paul McNeil


Don too FS

Photos by Xavier Davies

Paul McNeil is a celebrated fine artist.

He is also a serial collaborator, has won an Aria (Hoodoo Gurus album cover) and is in actual fact Mayor of Byron Bay (Simon Richardson is the Mayor of Byron Bay -Ed). You may not have realised it, but Paul’s work is everywhere, including c.d and vinyl covers, touring posters and t-shirts. Yep, that Mambo shirt of the monkey spreading his rectum apart that your old boy insists on wearing at every Xmas lunch, it was designed by Paul McNeil.

Besides being one of the original core Mambo artists, Paul has gone on to publish his own books, launch Art-Park (artist residency, art gallery, quarterly journal, clothing label), and work with many of your favourite bands including Beastie Boys, Beck, Pavement, Clouds, Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth. Paul is one of the featured, collective artists in the ‘Wax Off’ exhibition, which opens tomorrow evening at Secret Garden, Byron Bay. We thought surely being a successful artist, who kicks it with some of the biggest bands in the world isn’t all sunshine and smiles, so we asked Paul the top 7 things he hates about art. Haters gonna hate, painters gonna paint.

1. MONEY. Obviously money becomes an issue when you are an artist. I mean, where do you put all the cash?? I did build an extension on my luxury studio last year but that was soon full. Online banking has eased the situation somewhat, but still it pours in.

2. FAME. We’re all familiar with famous people but most people don’t realise that artists are the most famous people, they’re just more “underground”. Getting hounded by photographers and hip magazines has become a full-time problem for me. I refuse to speak to them.

3. MESSY FINGERS. Often I get paint splashes all over my fingers (it’s full-on!). Another time I ruined a pair of skinny jeans!

4. GROUPIES. Artists attract groupies! Don’t ask me why, its just a fact. I have some mega famous rock friends and they say to me “Paul, how do you put up with all the groupies?!”

5. DEALERS. There are heaps of dealers in the art world. They’re always coming around.

6. GALLERIES. It’s easy to hate galleries, I mean everyone does. They are boring and the walls are always white (boring), and the people that work in them speak funny. The average person will never go into one in their lifetime. They will go into a church before they go into a gallery (they are that bad).

7. OTHER ARTISTS. Most other artists are tossers. Fact.

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